U.S. Congress repeals meat labelling law

OTTAWA -- A potential trade war between Canada and the United States was all but averted Friday when Congress passed a massive spending bill that also repealed a controversial meat labelling law.

See Full Article

The 2,000-plus pages of legislation contained a two-page rider that scrapped the U.S. labelling law, known as COOL, which had become a major irritant among Canada, Mexico and the U.S.

The legislation now only needs a signature from President Barack Obama.

The World Trade Organization granted Canada and Mexico the right to impose $1 billion in punitive tariffs on various U.S. products after finding that the country-of-origin labelling provisions on beef and pork products violated international trade rules.

Canada and Mexico argued that the measure was nothing more than thinly disguised protectionism. Supporters said consumers have a right to know where their meat comes from.

International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland and Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay both welcomed the passage of the legislation, calling Friday "a great day for Canada."

"This is a real vindication of the power and significance of the WTO dispute-resolution mechanism, which has secured a real win for Canada," Freeland said in a teleconference call from Nairobi, where she and MacAulay were taking part in a trade conference.

"This is a decision that will have a real and immediate benefit to the Canadian economy."

Freeland said she expects the labelling regime will disappear quickly.

"We will be monitoring the situation to make sure there are no problems in this area," MacAulay added.

The ministers thanked Canadian diplomats and some American politicians and industries which supported doing away with the measure.

The Senate had been the last barrier because domestic political interests kept some senators opposed to repealing the law.

Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, the Republican chair of the Senate's powerful agriculture committee, expressed relief Friday at the news. Roberts said the retaliatory measures would have been damaging to various sectors of the U.S. economy.

"From the ranchers in Kansas to the jewelry makers on the East Coast, every state had something to lose from keeping mandatory COOL intact," Roberts said in a statement.

The WTO ruling, the latest in a series that Canada won in the dispute, cleared the way for widespread retaliation.

The targeted U.S. products included not only agricultural ones such as cattle, pork, apples, rice, maple syrup and wine, but extended to non-agricultural products, such as jewelry, office chairs, wooden furniture and mattresses.

Freeland said Canada still intends to obtain formal approval next week from the WTO for retaliation, even though the tariffs won't be imposed.

"We think that it is prudent of us to take the legal process to its formal, technical conclusion," she said.

On Friday, the Senate voted by a 65-33 margin to approve the massive bill that included $1.14 trillion in new spending in 2016 and $680 billion in tax cuts in the decade to come.



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • Loonie sinks to two-week low: Is this the start of another big drop?

    Economic CBC News
    The Canadian dollar fell to a two-week low against the U.S. dollar on Friday as lower oil prices and global trade tensions continue to weigh on the currency. The loonie is already down more than three per cent this year and was at 77.11 cents US on Friday. Source
  • WestJet agrees to 'settlement process' with pilots union

    Economic CBC News
    Anxious air travellers can now rest easy with the threat of a WestJet strike seemingly at an end. On Friday evening, WestJet and the Air Line Pilots Association agreed to a settlement process through the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. Source
  • WestJet, pilot's union agree to settlement process with mediator

    Economic CTV News
    CALGARY -- The threat of a strike by WestJet pilots appears to be over. The Calgary-based airline and the union that represents the pilots said Friday they have agreed to a settlement process that will involve a federal mediator. Source
  • Canada's pot industry gets a new supporter: Snoop Dogg

    Economic CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Canada is more advanced than the United States regarding its approach to cannabis, world-famous rapper and weed entrepreneur Snoop Dogg said Friday to a crowd of hundreds at Montreal's C2 technology conference. The entertainer lamented that in the U.S. Source
  • Energy sector weighs on Canadian markets as oil drops below US$70 a barrel

    Economic CBC News
    Canada's main stock index continued to fall Friday as the price for oil moved below US$70 a barrel and further dragged down the important energy sector. "Today, oil is by far the major story," said Macan Nia, a senior investment strategist at Manulife Investments. Source
  • Mercer International to give up TSX listing following loss at NAFTA tribunal

    Economic CBC News
    Mercer International says it intends to voluntarily de-list from the Toronto Stock Exchange on June 11, about three months after it lost a six-year-old NAFTA battle with the Canadian government. The U.S.-based forest products company had mounted a $250-million claim against the Canadian government in early 2012. Source
  • Pot is about to become big business, but not everyone will win: B.C. ex-premier

    Economic CTV News
    VICTORIA - Former British Columbia premier Mike Harcourt says Canada is about to enter a new gold rush with many dreaming of striking it rich in the marijuana industry. But he says there will be plenty of losers during the pending cannabis industry shakedown, where qualified and unqualified entrepreneurs search for marijuana riches. Source
  • U.S. officials demand WTO act against 'discriminatory' B.C. wine rules

    Economic CTV News
    Two high-ranking United States officials have asked the World Trade Organization (WTO) to form a dispute panel on British Columbia’s rules governing the sale of imported wine, calling the province’s regulations “discriminatory” and “unacceptable.” A joint statement issued by U.S. Source
  • U.S. officials demand WTO act against 'discriminatory' B.C. wine rules, again

    Economic CTV News
    Two high-ranking United States officials have asked the World Trade Organization (WTO) to form a dispute panel on British Columbia’s rules governing the sale of imported wine, calling the province’s regulations “discriminatory” and “unacceptable.” A joint statement issued by U.S. Source
  • Fate of CP Rail contract offer to be decided by union members today

    Economic CBC News
    The risk of a potential strike at CP Rail could be decided this afternoon once members from two unions complete voting on a three-year deal rejected by their negotiating teams. At stake is whether the threat of a strike is immediately averted or additional efforts are required to secure labour peace. Source